In the second quarter of 2020, the chemical company Oxea tripled its delivery volumes of n-propanol in Europe due to very high demand from manufacturers of hand sanitisers and the printing industry. Oxea is the world’s largest producer of n-propanol.

“In Europe, we are experiencing strong demand for n-propanol from renowned customers in the disinfectant sector. Compared to ethanol and isopropanol, n propanol shows better effectiveness against viruses and bacteria at lower concentrations than other alcohols according to various publications, including one from the Robert Koch Institute, Berlin. As the largest producer, we have the capacity not only to reliably supply the European market with n-propanol in biocide quality during the crisis but can also further increase the already large supply volumes for our industrial customers,” explained Dr. Jens Klabunde, Technical Business Development Manager at Oxea.

The printing industry is currently suffering from the poor availability of ethanol and isopropanol. Due to the acute crisis, they are being diverted to the biocide sector for cost reasons. Alcohols are important raw materials for the production of printing inks and are needed as solvents in the further course of the packaging printing process. Given the sharp rise in demand for packaging for pharmaceutical products and food, this could lead to bottlenecks in consumer supplies. Therefore, Oxea is increasingly supplying the printing industry: “We have shown, for example, that our products n propanol and n-propyl acetate, also known as ‘Propyls’ in the industry, can be much more economical than the ethanol/ethyl acetate blend conventionally used for packaging printing. They also achieve noticeably higher process stability without any technical effort and also have a positive effect on the sustainability of the printing operation. Propyls are therefore very suitable for switching to a solid solution that is also readily available in the long term,” explained Naoko Roth, Commercial Business Director at Oxea.